It’s no secret that content is crucial to achieving the highest search engine rankings and recent updates to Googles guidelines have placed renewed emphasis on this. We’ve looked at the marketing aspect of content marketing on our blog before, but what is the best process to follow for actually writing this content?
Read as much as you possibly can
Before you even open that Word document, its vitally important that you have a solid understanding of the subject you’ll be writing about. You need to be an expert in your field and the best way to achieve this is by reading.
As well as gaining knowledge about a particular industry, reading around will give you the chance to analyse the current trends and gauge whether or not what you’re planning will be appropriate and successful.
Analyse why the big-hitters are so successful
When you’re exploring a particular industry, take inspiration from its most powerful influencers and work out why their opinions are so respected. Scrutinise individual articles they’ve written and evaluate reasons why their writing is so effective. Make a list of the ways you could possibly emulate it.
Plan in advance
Its no accident that, almost halfway through this list, I haven’t mentioned any writing techniques; the process of writing the best content is much more complicated than just cracking open a blank document and hammering away at the keyboard. If you dive straight into writing without adequate preparation, your work will suffer. Be sure to map out a basic structure for your articles and have an idea of how long each section will be to avoid going off on too many tangents.
Get the first draft down
Writers block is perfectly normal, so just write something down to start with. Your first draft is never your best draft, so it doesn’t matter if your initial attempt isn’t quite up to scratch. The most important thing is to fill that white space; try to finish the article without constantly rewriting it, then go back and edit once you’re done.
Be careful with clichés
Some say use them, most say avoid them, but bear in mind the audience you’re writing for. If you do find that you’ve used a cliché, is it the best way of expressing what you’re trying to say? Here are a couple of additional perspectives you might like to consider:
- “Anything that you suspect of being a cliché, undoubtedly is one and had better be removed” Wolcott Gibbs.
- “You need clichés. Clichés are what people respond to” Matthew Vaughn.
- “It is a cliché that most clichés are true, but then like most clichés, that cliché is untrue” Stephen Fry.
- “Avoid clichés like the plague” William Safire.
Backing up your own opinion and complementing it with insight from other sources adds value to your argument. It breaks it up and gives the reader alternative perspectives to consider, which helps to provide editorial balance and increase the appeal of your writing.
Proofread your work
Even the slightest error in spelling or grammar can shatter the image of professionalism that you want to convey, so proofreading is absolutely critical. Saving an article and checking through it the following day or an hour or two later is a great idea, as this means you’ll view your work with a fresh perspective. Always try and get someone else to proofread it as well – a new pair of eyes are great at spotting errors.
The ability to write great content isn’t something you can just perfect overnight and you have to dedicate a significant amount of time to each piece. When you get into the habit of writing regularly and approach it as an enjoyable experience, you will definitely see a marked improvement in results.
Image source: www.stephenfry.com